Joan Roughgarden


Sporting a CV with over 180 published articles and eight books, Joan Roughgarden is a prolific ecologist and evolutionary biologist. She is best known for Evolution’s Rainbow, in which she argues that Charles Darwin’s theory of sexual selection fails to account for the great diversity of sexual and gendered behavior in animals, and assumes a more competitive model than exists in reality. (The truism that smaller gametes necessitate less investment in child-rearing fails, for example, when applied to seahorses, a species in which the female deposits eggs into the male’s egg sac. For a more in-depth explanation of Roughgarden’s views, see her TEDx talk here.) As of the time of this writing she is working as an adjunct professor for the Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology, her latest post in a lengthy academic career.

Roughgarden attributes her novel critiques in part to her quest to make sense of her own trans status, and hopes that input from sexual and gender minorities will add nuance to evolutionary theory.

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